Thursday, January 10th Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 1/10/2013 10:13:00 AM


If you have kids in public schools, the elementary teachers union has called for a day of protest tomorrow.  The high school teachers union wnats to do the same thing next Wednesday.

Premier Dalton McGuinty says protest all you want but not when kids are supposed to be in school.


Government lawyers will go the the Ontario Labour Relations Board this morning seeking orders to prevent both walkouts.  It's not clear if there is enough time to get an order to stop tomorrow's protest but if the board rules these to be illegal strikes,  the order could be made retroactively. Penalties under the Labour Relations Act range from fines of $2,000 a day for each teachers, $25-thousand-a-day for the union.

Amber Gero's Report

To be clear, not all public elementary school teachers will walk off the job tomorrow.  Some will simply refuse. Most school boards will welcome those teachers tomorrow, come in and mark papers or catch-up on paperwork but the schools won't be open to kids because the school can't guarantee their safety, that's IF there's no quasi-judicial order to ban the walkout.

We are getting some information, not yet confirmed, that tomorrow's planned protest may only last for two hours, not the whole day. We're hearing the teachers will be in class at 9 a.m. but walkout at 9:30 until 11:30 and then return to class. We are checking on that.  In the meantime: I would again implore teachers to keep teaching, protest before school, after school, on the weekends, all you want, because everytime you jerk around parents and their kids, they get angrier and angrier.

When this all started you had a fair number of people backing you, because the government has, in my view, gone too far. Let this play out out in court.  Your union has filed the case already. A legal victory would be the biggest win of all.  Besides we have a lame-duck Premier right now.  McGuinty will be gone after January 26th and there will be a new Premier and Liberal leader and that leader will be kissing your backside to get you back in the Liberal column heading towards an election.


When the director of the Toronto public school system stood before reporters last evening he was visibly shaken.

A few hours earlier, Doctor Chris Spence admitted to plagiarism in an opinion piece he wrote in the Toronto Star, recently regarding the importance of extra-curricular activity in schools.


The board is expected to announce today when it will meet with Spence, but another shoe has dropped in this scandal.

The National Post is reporting this morning that it has found more instances where it appears Spence plagiarized, including newspaper pieces on the Newtown massacre;  the Danzig Street shootings and a blog about the education system in China.

No response yet from the director.  I would think that as a man of honour, Doctor Spence, should, at the very least, offer his resignation and leave it up to the board to decide whether to accept it or not.


Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair's musings about getting photo radar on city streets and expand the red light cameras so they can nab motorists who make illegal turns seems to be going nowhere.

Mayor Rob Ford, for example, says he's against it because taxpayers are against it.  In Ford's words "the people don't support it, the taxpayer's don't support it, I don't support it." Again in the Mayor's words, "people don't want to have these tickets everytime they go through an intersection.  It costs a lot of money at the end of the day."

What the hell is Ford talking about "people don't want to have these tickets everytime they go through an intersection."  Here's a solution, don't go through the intersection on a red.  That's what the law is there for. It's public safety. There are days when I think Rob Ford is the most clueless person on the planet  and now he seems to be taking a new tact in his bid to get re-elected or re-appointed or whatever is going to happen to him; Ford basically admitting that he'll do whatever taxpayers want.  Mr. Ford, being mayor means showing leadership, not following blindly like a sheep going to slaughter.

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  1. Nesan posted on 01/10/2013 10:10 PM
    Dear Dave,
    I love listening to your show in the mornings and look forward to the round table discussions.

    I and a new listener and have listen to your show every morning coming into work and today was get madder and madder at what is going on with the situation with the Union/teachers and the liberal government. I have never called in or written, but this is truly moving me to scream!!

    I have a 5 year old who is in JK. I am a Registered Nurse and have been working in non-union (sick kids) and a unionized hospital. We are deemed an essential service and work within this to negotiate our collective agreements. Teachers ARE an essential service and extra-cirricular is essential for the growth and development of our children. It makes me upset that this is being played out to the detriment of our children. I do agree with some of the talks you have had on the show in terms of giving parents choices of where they would like to send their children to school. This system is holding parents and children hostage every few years and dragging us into their battles and if it stays this way it will continue to do so. I as a nurse have sick days and use them when I get ill. This morning a teacher called in stating she had been working for 16 years and came in to work 'sick'. I am only assuming that she did this so she can 'bank' her sick days to use later one. I work with people who are extremely ill every day and at times I come in to work not feeling well, but not because I want to 'save' my sick days, but because it would tax my co-workers in an environment that is already so tight in our work-force.

    I do believe in unions in that to help with collective agreements for wages and working conditions, but I also see the waste in this system as well as the advantage that members take of their employers. Unions need to change in this regard to this and start working with the employers to help make the systems more efficient if they are to survive in this world. There needs to be understanding that everyone has to be fiscally responsible of tax payers money in the public AND private sectors. From the government, to health care to education....we are seeing such a disregard for fiscal responsibility in all of these public sectors areas. And it continues from one government to another.
    I don't think dealing with it the way we have with the teachers is the right way of dealing with a problem that has been let to fester to this point until we have gotten into a crisis to cut.
    For a democratic country that I have been proud to live in coming from East Africa in 1973, it makes me sad that the public has such little power to enact any change. We Elect our councillors, MPP's, Prime Ministers in good faith. Once elected, there is no voice for the people who actually elected them. When governments make decisions to give themselves raises and take it upon themselves to waste taxpayer dollars there has to be some type of accountability in this. Not just at the next election, accountability for that moment. I am amazed that there is not more outrage as to what the McGuinty government has done with the power plants..not just from the public, but also within the government. A business would not survive doing what his government has done.
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